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Making the most out of your Central Heating – Tips for Insulating your Home

By 16/04/2022July 1st, 2022Blog
Energy efficiency label for house / heating and money savings - model of a house with cap in a hand in gloves.
Heating Homes


Whether it’s for economic or ecological reasons, it is becoming increasingly important that we make the most of the energy we use to heat our homes. Making sure that your house or flat is well insulated is a great way to reduce bills and maintain your home at a higher temperature. With a few simple changes, you can make a huge difference to your cost of living and comfort at home. If you’re thinking of buying a new boiler, it’s important to make sure you get the most out of the investment. The UK government has recently announced a cut in VAT on insulation materials so it’s a great time to consider insulating your home. This guide will take you through the various ways you can do so.

Where does the heat go?

A central heating system pumps hot water through radiators and pipes to heat the air inside your home. Simple enough, but there’s a problem; that heat will eventually escape, that’s why we end up running the heating so much in winter. How much heat escapes depends on how well insulated your house is and where that insulation is. In an average house, one third of the heat escapes through the walls, a quarter through the windows and doors, another quarter through the roof, and the last 10-15% through the floor and into the ground. As you can see, there is plenty of opportunity to insulate your home, creating an ‘insulation envelope’ that retains the heat inside. 

Do I need insulation? 

The first step is to check if your house is already insulated and where. If your house was built after the 1990s then by regulation it will have been built with a minimum level of insulation. However, this can most likely be upgraded as insulation technology has improved a lot over the last 30 years. If your house was built before 1990 and you do not know of any insulation work that has been done since then, there are probably a number of things you can do to get rid of drafts and keep hold of the heat you generate. If you have access to your attic, you can easily see if insulation has been installed (there will be material, plastic or wool, placed between the rafters) and a professional surveyor or builder will be able to tell you if your floors and walls require work. Insulating your home can result in massive savings on your energy bills so it is an expense really worth considering.


Insulating your home

Draft excluder

Depending on how recently you have had new windows and doors fitted up to 25% of the heat you generate at home can escape this way. Draughts can be relatively quick and cheap to fix and it is one problem you can most likely take care of yourself. You can pick up self-adhesive rubber weather stripping, metal or plastic strips with brushes and silicon filler at any good hardware store and they are simple to install. 

Cracked walls

Look for cracks in the walls around the frames of windows and doors or between the glass and the frames themselves. If you have a large gap beneath a door, you may find a hinged draft excluder will be a quick fix. There are also quick and cheap solutions available to make sure that the keyhole and letterbox of your external door do not allow air to escape. If you have an older house with a chimney, then having a professional ensure it is well insulated may save you more than £20 a year on your energy bill. Cracks in walls and floorboards can be easily solved with expanding filler. Make sure it is flexible and can cope with the expansion and contraction that wood undergoes with the changing seasons.

It is easy to think that the most effective way to avoid draughts in the house is to change any single glazed windows to a double or even triple glazed installation.


Double glazed window

There are plenty of benefits to double glazed windows, however, they can be a very pricey option when compared to other changes you can make to your home. You may pay upwards of £3000 for a limited saving of around £100 a year.  When draught-proofing, it is important to remember that houses require some ventilation to avoid problems with damp. Do not cover any clearly intentional vents or ventilated bricks. 

Insulate your walls 

Insulating your home

Cavity wall with insulation

Most of the heat that escapes from your house will leave via the walls. Luckily for most homes, there is a quick, cheap and easy solution. If your house was built after 1920 then it most likely has cavity walls: the outer wall will be made of two walls with a gap between them. The air in this gap was originally meant to provide an insulating buffer between the house and the outside. It is easy to
check if your house has cavity walls: all of the bricks will be lengthways, resulting in a pattern of equally sized rectangles. 

Solid brick wall

Brick wall


If your house has a solid wall, then the bricks will alternate between larger and smaller rectangles where the bricks have been laid at right angles into the wall. It may look something like this:


If you have an uninsulated cavity wall then a professional can quickly and cheaply insulate it for you. They will open a small hole from the outside of the house and inject it with insulating material before closing the hole with cement. As all work is external this job can be achieved with minimal disruption and at a low cost of around £200 per floor. Considering that cavity wall insulation can save you between £400 and £600 on your annual energy bills it’s a great opportunity to save money and make your house more environmentally friendly.

If your house doesn’t have cavity walls then don’t worry, you can still insulate solid walls,  however, it is a little more complicated and expensive. You can fit an additional internal wall filled with the same insulating materials as a cavity wall, unfortunately, this is highly disruptive and you will lose a small amount of space inside your home. The other option is to add cladding to the outside of the house there are plenty of modern building materials that both insulate well and result in a stylish finish. The price for this work can reach upwards of £10,000 so it is a big investment to consider. You can bring this price down by combining it with other external jobs and if the facade of your house already needs replacing it is relatively cheap to ensure it is done with insulating materials.

Insulating your floors

Wooden Flooring

Depending on the way your house is built, a lot of heat can sink through the floor and out into the ground. Insulating your floors is one of the more expensive and disruptive changes you can make to your home, but if the walls and attic are already insulated it may be the next best way to avoid losing heat from your home. There are two types of flooring you might encounter in your house: cement foundations or timber flooring made from wooden joists, you can find out which flooring you have by taking a look under your carpet.

If you find a wooden floor then you’re in luck, you can insulate this flooring simply by lifting the boards and filling the space beneath with insulating material. You can pay a professional to do this or if you’re experienced at DIY you might even find it a simple job to do yourself. Be careful not to block any ventilation spaces. 

Insulating your home

Rug on a wooden floor

If you find a concrete floor then things are a little more complicated. You will have to fit rigid insulation boards on top of the concrete block, these can be more expensive to install and you will lose some of the space inside your house. On the other hand, once fitted these boards provide a highly effective form of insulation and you may save up to £100 a year heating your home. 

If you have the budget you may even choose to install under floor heating, these systems help to insulate your home and provide heating evenly throughout the space. A professional installation from CRB Boilers can completely change your home throughout the winter months. 

Of course, there are quicker and cheaper ways to insulate the floors of your home, even a simple carpet or rug will prevent some of the heat from escaping and is an easily achievable change you can make straight away.   

Insulating your roof/attic

Insulating your home

An attic

If you have seen the infrared images that some newspapers have published you will know that as heat rises it may begin to escape through your attic. Luckily this is maybe the cheapest and easiest insulation you can fit. Placing insulating material between the gaps in the joists and then covering them with 2 layers of rigid insulation boards is a quick and highly effective solution that you might be comfortable doing yourself. This will typically cost between £300 and £400 and you may recuperate these costs in just 3 years of cheaper bills.


You may choose to insulate the rafters of the roof from inside the attic, adding another layer of insulation and making the attic warm during winter. This is useful if you want to extend your living space to the attic and will ensure that your pipes do not freeze. You must remember to insulate the gable walls as well or the benefits you gain from insulating the roof will be minimal. This is a more expensive and less effective solution than simply insulating the attic floor.

Insulating your pipes

That’s how to insulate against the four main ways that heat can escape from your home, but there is one more form of insulation you can easily install. You can insulate the heating system itself. Insulated hot water tank covers cost around £15 and installing one (an easy job you can do yourself) may save you over £20 a year. Combine this with simple to fit pipe insulation and you can make your central heating system several times more efficient with very little effort.

What’s Next?

Having a well insulated home can improve your cost of living significantly, cheaper bills and a warmer home are amazing benefits to some simple solutions. Now that the heat you generate isn’t escaping, the next step is to make sure that you’re producing it efficiently, call or email CRB boilers to talk about installing a new, energy efficient boiler in your home.